Designing with the Mind in Mind

Designing with the Mind in Mind, 2nd Edition

Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Guidelines

Designing with the Mind in Mind, 2nd Edition,Jeff Johnson,ISBN9780124079144


Morgan Kaufmann




235 X 191

Making sense of the psychology behind design rules, so your designs make sense.

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Key Features

  • Provides an essential source for user interface design rules and how, when, and why to apply them
  • Arms designers with the science behind each design rule, allowing them to make informed decisions in projects, and to explain those decisions to others
  • Equips readers with the knowledge to make educated tradeoffs between competing rules, project deadlines, and budget pressures
  • Completely updated and revised, including additional coverage on human choice and decision making, hand-eye coordination and attention, and new mobile and touch-screen examples throughout


In this completely updated and revised edition of Designing with the Mind in Mind, Jeff Johnson provides you with just enough background in perceptual and cognitive psychology that user interface (UI) design guidelines make intuitive sense rather than being just a list or rules to follow.

Early UI practitioners were trained in cognitive psychology, and developed UI design rules based on it. But as the field has evolved since the first edition of this book, designers enter the field from many disciplines. Practitioners today have enough experience in UI design that they have been exposed to design rules, but it is essential that they understand the psychology behind the rules in order to effectively apply them.

In this new edition, you'll find new chapters on human choice and decision making, hand-eye coordination and attention, as well as new examples, figures, and explanations throughout.


Interface designers and developers, software designers, web designers, web application designers, interaction designers, appliance designers and developers, information architects, usability engineers, usability evaluators and development managers, students and teachers in computer science, graphic design, HCI, and usability.

Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson is president and principal consultant at UI Wizards, Inc., a product usability consulting firm (www.uiwizards.). He has worked in the field of Human-Computer Interaction since 1978, as a software designer and implementer, usability tester, manager, researcher at several computer and telecommunications companies, and as a consultant. In the course of his career, he has written many articles, co-written several books, and given numerous presentations on a variety of topics in Human-Computer Interaction. His books Designing with the Mind in Mind and GUI Bloopers are seminal guides to improving design.

Affiliations and Expertise

President and principal consultant at UI Wizards, Inc., a product usability consulting firm

View additional works by Jeff Johnson

Designing with the Mind in Mind, 2nd Edition

Chapter 1: Our Perception is Biased
Chapter 2: Our Vision is Optimized to See Structure
Chapter 3: We Seek and Use Visual Structure
Chapter 4: Our Color Vision is Limited
Chapter 5: Our Peripheral Vision is Poor
Chapter 6: Reading is Unnatural
Chapter 7: Our Attention is Limited; Our Memory is Imperfect
Chapter 8: Limits on Attention Shape Our Thought and Action
Chapter 9: Recognition is Easy; Recall is Hard
Chapter 10: Learning from Experience and Performing Learned Actions are Easy; Problem Solving and Calculation are Hard
Chapter 11: Many Factors Affect Learning
Chapter 12: Human Decision-Making is Rarely Rational
Chapter 13: Our Hand-Eye Coordination Follows Laws
Chapter 14: We Have Time Requirements

Quotes and reviews

"The clear writing style, comprehensive coverage of common design decisions, and the reference to human psychology that provide the theoretical support for these decisions make it a solid addition to your personal or professional library."--User Experience Magazine, 2014

“Even if you are working for many years in the field of UX, it is worth reading this book…you learn a lot of interesting background information that can help one to question existing rules, to consider their own experiences and to establish well-founded decisions.”--UsabilityBlog.de, July 10, 2014.

"...easy and captivating reading, something not commonly encountered in a nonfiction work on an important subject…software developers and anyone else who may be concerned with designing good user interfaces should read this book."--ComputingReviews.com, Aug 28, 2014.

"…the authors provide an excellent selection of topics and examples that constitutes necessary knowledge for everyone involved in designing user interfaces, and perhaps even all software engineers…The book is easy to read for novice audiences, students and particularly practitioners. It is well illustrated with plenty of examples."--HCI International News, May 2014

"…guide to user interface design based on the science of human perception and memory. Each chapter focus on a particular limiting aspect of the human mind, including priming or experience bias in our perceptions, looking for visual structure, poor quality of color and peripheral vision, the high cognitive load of reading…"--ProtoView.com, April 2014

"What's really good about the book is that Johnson provides ample details about the topic, but doesn't reduce it to so just a set of rules or mind-numbing (and thusly unreadable) checklists. His synopsis of the topics provides the reader with a broad understanding of the topic and what they need to do in order to ensure effective UI design is executed."--SlashDot.org, April 28, 2014

"In this valuable traversal of human cognition, Jeff Johnson illuminates its operation and exposes everyday fallacies and misunderstandings through examples and explanations. The results provide a useful education for everyone, but one that is essential for designers. If you are curious about the human mind, you will enjoy this book: if you are a designer, you need it."--Don Norman, Nielsen Norman group and Author of Design of Everyday Things, revised and expanded edition

"Need to know about how things really work in the mind of your users? Designing with the Mind in Mind is a treasure trove, packed with insightful information about the cognitive pitfalls, perceptual glitches, and usability errors that plague user interfaces. DWTMIM is a book every designer needs to read, if only to understand why your brilliant user experience might not actually work in reality, and what brain science suggests you do about fixing it."--Dan Russell, Senior Research Scientist, Search Quality, Google

"Several excellent books ago, Jeff Johnson figured out that the way to reveal user interface design is to emphasize concrete examples. This book is organized around 14 fundamental and wide-ranging insights about human psychology that are vividly grounded and applied in design examples. The book will be useful to professionals who can quickly inform or remind themselves of how user interface design guidelines work, and it will engage and equip students entering this exciting area."--John M. Carroll, Distinguished Professor of Information Sciences and Technology, The Pennsylvania State University

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